Knute Rockne
Overview
 
Knute Kenneth Rockne was an American football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

 player and coach. He is regarded as one of the greatest coaches in college football
College football
College football refers to American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities...

 history. His biography at the College Football Hall of Fame
College Football Hall of Fame
The College Football Hall of Fame is a hall of fame and museum devoted to college football. Located in South Bend, Indiana, it is connected to a convention center and situated in the city's renovated downtown district, two miles south of the University of Notre Dame campus. It is slated to move...

 calls him "American football's most-renowned coach." He was a native Norwegian and was trained as a chemist at the University of Notre Dame
University of Notre Dame
The University of Notre Dame du Lac is a Catholic research university located in Notre Dame, an unincorporated community north of the city of South Bend, in St. Joseph County, Indiana, United States...

, where he later coached. He is credited with popularizing the use of the forward pass
Forward pass
In several forms of football a forward pass is when the ball is thrown in the direction that the offensive team is trying to move, towards the defensive team's goal line...

.
Knute Rockne was born Knut Larsen Rokne in Voss, Norway to the smith and wagonmaker Lars Knutson Rokne (1858–1912) and his wife Martha Pedersdatter Gjermo (1859–1944).
Quotations

Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points.

Drink the first. Sip the second slowly. Skip the third.

Football is a game played with arms, legs and shoulders but mostly from the neck up.

Let's win one for the Gipper.

No star playing, just football.

One man practicing sportsmanship is far better than fifty preaching it.

Variant: One man practicing sportsmanship is better than a hundred teaching it.

Show me a good and gracious loser and I'll show you a failure.

The secret is to work less as individuals and more as a team. As a coach, I play not my eleven best, but my best eleven.

Win or lose, do it fairly.

What most people believe is thinking, is really only a different arrangement of their prejudices.

Encyclopedia
Knute Kenneth Rockne was an American football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

 player and coach. He is regarded as one of the greatest coaches in college football
College football
College football refers to American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities...

 history. His biography at the College Football Hall of Fame
College Football Hall of Fame
The College Football Hall of Fame is a hall of fame and museum devoted to college football. Located in South Bend, Indiana, it is connected to a convention center and situated in the city's renovated downtown district, two miles south of the University of Notre Dame campus. It is slated to move...

 calls him "American football's most-renowned coach." He was a native Norwegian and was trained as a chemist at the University of Notre Dame
University of Notre Dame
The University of Notre Dame du Lac is a Catholic research university located in Notre Dame, an unincorporated community north of the city of South Bend, in St. Joseph County, Indiana, United States...

, where he later coached. He is credited with popularizing the use of the forward pass
Forward pass
In several forms of football a forward pass is when the ball is thrown in the direction that the offensive team is trying to move, towards the defensive team's goal line...

.

Early life

Knute Rockne was born Knut Larsen Rokne in Voss, Norway to the smith and wagonmaker Lars Knutson Rokne (1858–1912) and his wife Martha Pedersdatter Gjermo (1859–1944). He emigrated with his parents at five years old to Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

. He grew up in the Logan Square
Logan Square, Chicago
Logan Square is one of the 77 city-designated community areas located on the near northwest side of the City of Chicago. The name, used here to describe the community area defined by U.S. census tracts, also applies to one of a number of smaller, more loosely defined residential neighborhoods...

 area of Chicago, on the northwest side of the city. Rockne learned to play football in his neighborhood and later played end in a local group called the Logan Square Tigers. He attended North West Division High School in Chicago playing football and also running track.

After Rockne graduated from high school, he took a job as a mail dispatcher with the Chicago Post Office for four years. When he was 22, he had saved enough money to continue his education. He headed to Notre Dame, Indiana
Notre Dame, Indiana
Notre Dame is a census-designated place north of South Bend in St. Joseph County, Indiana, United States; it includes the campuses of three colleges: the University of Notre Dame, Saint Mary's College, and Holy Cross College. Notre Dame is split between Clay and Portage Townships...

, to finish his schooling. He graduated from Notre Dame in 1914 with a degree in pharmacy. After graduating he was the laboratory assistant to noted polymer chemist
Polymer chemistry
Polymer chemistry or macromolecular chemistry is a multidisciplinary science that deals with the chemical synthesis and chemical properties of polymers or macromolecules. According to IUPAC recommendations, macromolecules refer to the individual molecular chains and are the domain of chemistry...

 Julius Arthur Nieuwland at Notre Dame and helped out with the football team, but rejected further work in chemistry
Chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

 after receiving an offer to coach football.

Notre Dame coach

Portions of this section are adapted from Murray Sperber
Murray Sperber
Murray Sperber taught at Indiana University, Bloomington, from 1971-2004 andis now a Professor Emeritus of English and American studies of the school....

's book Shake Down The Thunder: The Creation of Notre Dame Football

During 13 years as head coach, Rockne led his "Fighting Irish" to 105 victories, 12 losses, five ties, and three national championships, including five undefeated seasons without a tie. Rockne posted the highest all-time winning percentage (.881) for an American football coach, college or professional. His players included George 'Gipper' Gipp
George Gipp
George "The Gipper" Gipp was a college football player who played for the University of Notre Dame. Gipp was selected as Notre Dame's first All-American and is Notre Dame's second consensus All-American , after Gus Dorais. Gipp played multiple positions, most notably halfback, quarterback, and...

, the "Four Horsemen
Four Horsemen (football)
The Four Horsemen of Notre Dame comprised a winning group of American football players at the University of Notre Dame under coach Knute Rockne. They were the backfield of Notre Dame's 1924 football team...

" (Harry Stuhldreher
Harry Stuhldreher
Harry Augustus Stuhldreher was an American football player, coach, and college athletics administrator. He played quarterback at University of Notre Dame from 1922 to 1924, where he was a three-time All-American and member of the legendary "Four Horsemen" backfield...

, Don Miller
Don Miller (football)
Don "Midnight" Miller was an American football player and coach. He was one of the famous "Four Horsemen" of the University of Notre Dame's backfield in 1924. Miller was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1970.Miller's three brothers attended Notre Dame before him...

, Jim Crowley
Jim Crowley
James Harold "Jim" Crowley was an American football player and coach. He gained fame as one-fourth of the University of Notre Dame's legendary "Four Horsemen" backfield where he played halfback from 1922 to 1924. After a brief career as a professional football player, Crowley turned to coaching...

, and Elmer Layden
Elmer Layden
Elmer Francis Layden was an American football player, coach, college athletics administrator, and professional sports executive. He played college football at the University of Notre Dame where he starred at fullback as a member of the legendary "Four Horsemen" backfield...

), Frank Thomas, Frank Leahy
Frank Leahy
Francis William Leahy was an American football player, coach, college athletics administrator, and professional sports executive...

, and Curly Lambeau
Curly Lambeau
Earl Louis "Curly" Lambeau was founder, player, and first coach of the Green Bay Packers professional American football team...

.

Rockne introduced the "shift", with the backfield lining up in a T formation and then quickly shifting into a box to the left or right just as the ball was snapped. Rockne was also shrewd enough to recognize that intercollegiate sports had a show-business aspect. Thus he worked hard promoting Notre Dame football so as to make it financially successful. He used his considerable charm to court favor from the media, which then consisted of newspapers, wire services and radio stations and networks, to obtain free advertising for Notre Dame football. He was very successful as an advertising pitchman, for South Bend-based Studebaker
Studebaker
Studebaker Corporation was a United States wagon and automobile manufacturer based in South Bend, Indiana. Founded in 1852 and incorporated in 1868 under the name of the Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company, the company was originally a producer of wagons for farmers, miners, and the...

 and other products.

For all his success, Rockne also made what an Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

 writer called "one of the greatest coaching blunders in history." Instead of coaching his 1926 team against Carnegie Tech, Rockne traveled to Chicago for the Army–Navy Game to "write newspaper articles about it, as well as select an All-America football team." Carnegie Tech used the coach's absence as motivation for a 19–0 win; the upset likely cost the Irish a chance for a national title.

Plane crash

Rockne died in a plane crash in Kansas
Kansas
Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south...

 on March 31, 1931, while en route to participate in the production of the film The Spirit of Notre Dame. Shortly after taking off from Kansas City
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Missouri. It encompasses in parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties...

, where he had stopped to visit his two sons, Bill and Knute Jr., who were in boarding school there at the Pembroke-Country Day School
The Pembroke Hill School
The Pembroke Hill School is a nonsectarian, coeducational, private preparatory school for about 1,200 students in preschool through 12th grade, separated into four sections: preschool-2nd grade , 3rd-5th grade , 6th-8th grade , and 9th-12th grade...

, one of the Fokker Trimotor
Fokker F.10
|-See also:...

 aircraft's wings separated in flight. The plane crashed into a wheat field near Bazaar, Kansas
Bazaar, Kansas
Bazaar is an unincorporated community in Chase County, Kansas, United States. The community is part of the Emporia Micropolitan Statistical Area. It is notable for being near the place of the 1931 Trans World Airlines Flight 599 crash that killed University of Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne...

, killing Rockne and seven others. President Herbert Hoover
Herbert Hoover
Herbert Clark Hoover was the 31st President of the United States . Hoover was originally a professional mining engineer and author. As the United States Secretary of Commerce in the 1920s under Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge, he promoted partnerships between government and business...

 called Rockne's death "a national loss."

On the spot where the plane crashed, a memorial dedicated to the victims stands surrounded by a wire fence with wooden posts; it was maintained for many years by James Easter Heathman
James Heathman
James Easter Heathman, also known as J. E. Heathman, was an American former farmer and U.S. Army veteran, who, as a teenager in 1931, witnessed and discovered the crash of TWA Flight 599, which killed eight people, most notably University of Notre Dame football coach, Knute Rockne...

, who, at age thirteen in 1931, was one of the first people to arrive at the site of the tragedy.

Rockne was buried in Highland Cemetery in South Bend
South Bend, Indiana
The city of South Bend is the county seat of St. Joseph County, Indiana, United States, on the St. Joseph River near its southernmost bend, from which it derives its name. As of the 2010 Census, the city had a total of 101,168 residents; its Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 316,663...

.

Legacy

Rockne was not the first coach to use the forward pass
Forward pass
In several forms of football a forward pass is when the ball is thrown in the direction that the offensive team is trying to move, towards the defensive team's goal line...

, but he helped popularize it nationally. Most football historians agree that a few schools, notably Saint Louis University (under coach Eddie Cochems
Eddie Cochems
Edward Bulwer "Eddie" Cochems was an American football player and coach. He played football for the University of Wisconsin from 1898 to 1901 and was the head football coach at North Dakota State , Clemson , Saint Louis University , and Maine . During his three years at St...

), Michigan, Carlisle and Minnesota, had passing attacks in place before Rockne arrived at Notre Dame. The great majority of passing attacks, however, consisted solely of short pitches and shovel passes to stationary receivers. Additionally, few of the major eastern teams that constituted the power center of college football at the time used the pass. In the summer of 1913, while he was a lifeguard on the beach at Cedar Point
Cedar Point
Cedar Point is a 364 acre amusement park located in Sandusky, Ohio, United States on a narrow peninsula jutting into Lake Erie. Cedar Point is the only amusement park with four roller coasters that are taller than...

 in Sandusky, Ohio
Sandusky, Ohio
Sandusky is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and the county seat of Erie County. It is located in northern Ohio and is situated on the shores of Lake Erie, almost exactly half-way between Toledo to the west and Cleveland to the east....

, Rockne and his college teammate and roommate Gus Dorais
Gus Dorais
Charles Emile "Gus" Dorais was an American football player and coach of football, basketball, and baseball. He played college football as a quarterback at the University of Notre Dame, where he was an All-American in 1913, and then professionally with the Fort Wayne Friars and Massillon Tigers...

 worked on passing techniques. These were employed in games by the 1913 Notre Dame squad and subsequent Harper- and Rockne-coached teams and included many features common in modern passing, including having the passer throw the ball overhand and having the receiver run under a football and catch the ball in stride. That fall, Notre Dame upset heavily favored Army
Army Black Knights football
The Army Black Knights football program represents the United States Military Academy. Army was recognized as the national champions in 1944, 1945 and 1946....

, 35-13, at West Point thanks to a barrage of Dorais-to-Rockne long downfield passes. The game played an important role in displaying the potency of the forward pass and "open offense" and convinced many coaches to consider adding a few pass plays to their play books. The game is dramatized in the movie The Long Gray Line
The Long Gray Line
The Long Gray Line is a 1955 American drama film directed by John Ford based on the life of Marty Maher. Tyrone Power stars as the scrappy Irish immigrant whose 50-year career at West Point took him from dishwasher to non-commissioned officer and athletic instructor.Maureen O'Hara, one of Ford's...

.

Memorials

  • A student gymnasium building on campus is named in his honor, as well as a street in South Bend and another in Stevensville, Michigan
    Stevensville, Michigan
    Stevensville is a village in Berrien County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The village lies within Lincoln Township. The population was 1,191 at the 2000 census.-History:...

     (where Rockne had a summer home on Lake Michigan
    Lake Michigan
    Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America and the only one located entirely within the United States. It is the second largest of the Great Lakes by volume and the third largest by surface area, after Lake Superior and Lake Huron...

    ), and a travel plaza on the Indiana Toll Road
    Indiana Toll Road
    The Indiana Toll Road, officially the Indiana East–West Toll Road, is a toll road that runs for east–west across northern Indiana from the Illinois state line to the Ohio state line...

    .

  • The Matfield Green
    Matfield Green, Kansas
    Matfield Green is a city in Chase County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 47.-Geography:Matfield Green is located at ., in the scenic Flint Hills of the Great Plains...

     travel plaza on the Kansas Turnpike
    Kansas Turnpike
    The Kansas Turnpike is a freeway-standard toll road that lies entirely within the U.S. state of Kansas. It runs in a general southwest-northeast direction from the Oklahoma border, and passes through several major Kansas cities, including Wichita, Topeka, Lawrence and Kansas City...

    , near Bazaar, contains a memorial to him.

  • Allentown Central Catholic High School
    Allentown Central Catholic High School
    Allentown Central Catholic High School is a private, parochial school located at 301 North Fourth Street in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in the United States...

     in Allentown, Pennsylvania
    Allentown, Pennsylvania
    Allentown is a city located in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, in the United States. It is Pennsylvania's third most populous city, after Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and the 215th largest city in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 118,032 and is currently...

     dedicated its gymnasium, Rockne Hall, to Knute Rockne.

  • Taylorville, Illinois
    Taylorville, Illinois
    Taylorville is a city in Christian County, Illinois, United States. The population was 11,246 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat and largest city in Christian County.-Geography:Taylorville is located at ....

    , dedicated the street next to the football field as "Knute Rockne Road".

  • The town of Rockne, Texas
    Rockne, Texas
    Rockne is an unincorporated community in Bastrop County, Texas, United States.Rockne, twelve miles southwest of Bastrop in southwestern Bastrop County, has its origins in German settlers such as the Lehman family who arrived around 1846. The original parish included the Meuth community but was...

     was named to honor him. In 1931 the children of Sacred Heart School were given the opportunity to name their town. A vote was taken, with the children electing to name the town after Rockne, who had died in a plane crash earlier that year. On March 10, 1988, Rockne opened its post office for one day, during which a Knute Rockne twenty-two-cent commemorative stamp was issued. A life size bust of Rockne was unveiled on March 4, 2006.

  • The Studebaker
    Studebaker
    Studebaker Corporation was a United States wagon and automobile manufacturer based in South Bend, Indiana. Founded in 1852 and incorporated in 1868 under the name of the Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company, the company was originally a producer of wagons for farmers, miners, and the...

     automobile company of South Bend marketed the Rockne
    Rockne
    The Rockne was an American automobile brand produced by the Studebaker Corporation of South Bend, Indiana from 1931-1933. The brand was named for University of Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne....

     automobile between 1931 and 1933. It was a separate product line of Studebaker and priced in the low cost market segment.

  • Symphonic composer Ferde Grofe
    Ferde Grofé
    Ferde Grofé was a prominent American composer, arranger and pianist. During the 1920s and 1930s, he went by the name Ferdie Grofé.-Early life:...

     composed a musical suite in Rockne's honor shortly after the coach's death.

  • In 1940, actor Pat O'Brien
    Pat O'Brien (actor)
    Pat O’Brien was an American film actor with more than one hundred screen credits.-Early life:O’Brien was born William Joseph Patrick O’Brien to an Irish-American Catholic family in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He served as an altar boy at Gesu Church while growing up near 13th and Clybourn streets...

     portrayed Rockne in the Warner Brothers film Knute Rockne, All American
    Knute Rockne, All American
    Knute Rockne, All American is a 1940 biographical film which tells the story of Knute Rockne, Notre Dame football coach. It stars Pat O'Brien, Ronald Reagan, Gale Page, Donald Crisp, Albert Bassermann, Owen Davis, Jr., Nick Lukats, Kane Richmond, William Marshall and William Byrne. It also...

    in which Rockne used the phrase "win one for the Gipper" in reference to the death bed request of George Gipp
    George Gipp
    George "The Gipper" Gipp was a college football player who played for the University of Notre Dame. Gipp was selected as Notre Dame's first All-American and is Notre Dame's second consensus All-American , after Gus Dorais. Gipp played multiple positions, most notably halfback, quarterback, and...

    , played by Ronald Reagan
    Ronald Reagan
    Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

    .

  • Rockne was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame
    College Football Hall of Fame
    The College Football Hall of Fame is a hall of fame and museum devoted to college football. Located in South Bend, Indiana, it is connected to a convention center and situated in the city's renovated downtown district, two miles south of the University of Notre Dame campus. It is slated to move...

     in 1951 as a charter member and in the Indiana Football Hall of Fame
    Indiana Football Hall of Fame
    The Indiana Football Hall of Fame is a sports museum and hall of fame in Richmond, Indiana. It honors persons associated with high school, college and professional American football in Indiana. It also works to establish scholarships and endowments to promote football in the state of Indiana...

    .

  • In 1988, the United States Postal Service
    United States Postal Service
    The United States Postal Service is an independent agency of the United States government responsible for providing postal service in the United States...

     honored Rockne with a 22 cent postage stamp
    Postage stamp
    A postage stamp is a small piece of paper that is purchased and displayed on an item of mail as evidence of payment of postage. Typically, stamps are made from special paper, with a national designation and denomination on the face, and a gum adhesive on the reverse side...

     in his honor. President Ronald Reagan
    Ronald Reagan
    Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

    , who played George Gipp
    George Gipp
    George "The Gipper" Gipp was a college football player who played for the University of Notre Dame. Gipp was selected as Notre Dame's first All-American and is Notre Dame's second consensus All-American , after Gus Dorais. Gipp played multiple positions, most notably halfback, quarterback, and...

     in the movie "Knute Rockne, All American
    Knute Rockne, All American
    Knute Rockne, All American is a 1940 biographical film which tells the story of Knute Rockne, Notre Dame football coach. It stars Pat O'Brien, Ronald Reagan, Gale Page, Donald Crisp, Albert Bassermann, Owen Davis, Jr., Nick Lukats, Kane Richmond, William Marshall and William Byrne. It also...

    ", gave an address at the Athletic & Convocation Center at the University of Notre Dame on March 9, 1988, and officially unveiled the Rockne stamp.


  • A biographical musical of Rockne's life premiered at the Theatre at the Center in Munster, Indiana
    Munster, Indiana
    Munster is a town located in North Township, Lake County, in Northwest Indiana in the United States. This bedroom community lies in the Chicago metropolitan area, approximately southeast of the Chicago Loop, and shares municipal boundaries with Hammond to the north, Highland to the east, Dyer and...

    , on April 3, 2008. The musical is based on a play and mini-series by Buddy Farmer.

Personal life

Rockne was married to Bonnie Gwendoline Skiles (December 18, 1891 – June 2, 1956), the daughter of George Skiles and Huldah Dry. They had four children. He converted from the Lutheran to the Roman Catholic faith in 1923.

Head coaching record

Sources

  • Ray Robinson, Rockne of Notre Dame: The Making of a Football Legend (1999)
  • Murray Sperber
    Murray Sperber
    Murray Sperber taught at Indiana University, Bloomington, from 1971-2004 andis now a Professor Emeritus of English and American studies of the school....

    , Shake Down the Thunder: The Creation of Notre Dame Football (1993)
  • Norsk Biografisk leksikon (NBL)

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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